Battle of the Titans: can virtual fitness replace the real one

virtual fitness

Modern fitness is not limited to four walls. The amount of applications for health, virtual fitness programs and sports opportunities “without leaving home” (at least videos on YouTube) is amazing, and the acute shortage of time makes us more interested in these. 

In addition, options for accelerated fitness are sprouting here and there. These trainings involve the use of augmented reality glasses or a suit “from the future”, which sends impulses to the muscles during training, thus allowing to shorten it by two or even three times.

All these raise logical questions:

  • Will virtual fitness ever replace the real one?
  • How effective are innovative approaches compared to traditional ones?

Experts in the field of healthy lifestyles are sure that virtual (or digital) fitness is a good thing one way or another.

  1. Just for the reason that it provides an opportunity for exercising to those people, who have no possibility to visit a gym for either reason.

Yes, you may not have enough strength for a gym training after work. Yet the strength that you have remaining in the end of the day may be just enough for a 15-20 minutes of independent training.

  1. One more absolute advantage of fitness programs, which are always at hand, is that most of them combine recommendations on exercises with dieticians’ advice and important reminders. For example, on how much water and when you should drink.

This approach to sports is increasingly often called exergames, combining in the term “physical exercises” and “games”. However, this is more true for special programs – Wii Fit Plus, Fitness Evolved, Kinect Sports – which are used for both sports training and rehabilitation.

Studies of virtual fitness show that such programs, among other things, increase the coefficient of pleasure from playing sports, and contribute to a greater impact and compliance with the plan, as well.

The research team at the University of Wuerzburg, led by Professor Jean-Luc Lugrin, assessed the impact of “avatars” – images of virtual fitness systems users – on their performance. Analysis of the data showed that

fitness virtual

  • realistic “avatars” led to great success, compared with the unrealistic ones;
  • muscular “avatars”, with little resemblance of their real figures, endowed them with “a sense of power”.Though, judging by the results, not over their body.

Despite all this, the scientists are not sure that virtual trainers can replace real ones at the moment. Rather, it can be an addition to training – in those cases, say, when the weather outside the window is not the best and you don’t want to leave your home at all.

Virtual mentors, just like virtual “colleagues”, can act as effective social support. This applies to running applications, where you can compare your progress with the achievements of other users, and find friends, who regularly run in the same area as you.

In their speeches at the Motionsoft Technology Summit in 2016, experts emphasized that the attention of the fitness industry today should be focused on the individual servicing of each client.

The main advantage of the virtual fitness systems is that they:

  • are personalized,
  • can take into account our needs,
  • can adapt to our needs.

In addition to this, digital fitness provides people with stimulation in the format of video and audio content, which has a positive effect on the regularity of classes and overall motivation.